4th March, 2020.
Australians are a stubborn bunch at the best of times. It’s an endearing quality really. Our stick-in-the-mud approach and general “if it ain’t broke” attitude. Unfortunately, the two qualities combined can converge to result in an apparent indifference to shifts in the status quo and a tendency to not evolve lifestyles as necessary. You could say that we just want to be really really sure before changing up and leaving the comfort of what we know and love.
High and medium density living models are one such cultural shift and we are finally beginning to establish some momentum with embracing this residential framework. Given the ancient Roman’s were adept at building upwards of ten stories, you can definitely say that multi-residential living is no new development.
Skipping forward a few centuries, the Modernist Architecture movement heralded the concept of high-rise living with the likes of Le Corbusier starting the “urban-renewal” craze with his development concepts that were repeated all over Europe after WWII.
Unlike Europe the United States and Asia however, Australia has enjoyed a rather luxurious slow-burn when it comes to actually needing to live on top of one another. We have delightedly basked in the expansiveness of the single family home dream but, to our detriment, that dream is now in danger of turning into a nightmare. With the detached family home in urban landscapes becoming more and more out of financial reach, yet with the large, family friendly apartment model sadly lacking, there is a growing void in the fabric of Australian home life. It begs the question, are we essentially holding on to nostalgia at the expense of the security of our future urban development?
Vertical living, when done well, can have huge benefits in terms of sustainability, social connection and urban experience. The amenity of a neighbourhood in close proximity to the city center is unparalleled and, while the enclosed backyard and abundance of space in the suburbs is not without merit, as other elements of modern life begin to alter the course of the way we live (such as the growing trend to work outside of the traditional office environment, and the way we turn to digital platforms for social entertainment) proximity to our neighbours is suddenly not such a taboo.
Rooftop gardens and ground floor cafes. Proximity to the very fabric of urban society (public transport, parks and education). A sense of community and old fashioned holistic appeal. The lure of the apartment may just be the perfect antidote to the dangers of a growing social distancing from one another, and the ideal compliment to the rapid acceleration of autonomous work practises and digital leisure.
Words by Tiffany Jade.
Images by Simon Shiff.